For I was hungry
Part of the process of becoming a member of the United Methodist Church is professing to faithfully participate in the life of the church through prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. More and more people are looking for a way to serve that goes beyond ushering and singing in the choir (though those are both vital ministries).
The Oklahoma conference leadership saw that need and rose to meet it with its new initiative, I Want to Serve. Church leaders, congregations, or even individuals can find ways to serve the church, the conference, or the world via a central location on the website, www.IWantToServe.net.
From boots-on-the-ground direct service to applying for a position on a conference board or committee, United Methodist members are encouraged to reach out and learn more about I Want to Serve.
Service opportunities include disaster response, young adult and campus ministries, mission, multi-ethnic initiatives and new faith communities, Hispanic/Latino ministry, congregational vitality and fresh expression, licensed and ordained ministry, camps, and Project Transformation.
Each service area is linked to contact information for a person at the conference level who will get potential volunteers connected with the resources and contacts they need in order to serve in the ministry where they are called.
Young people are the future of the church, so volunteers who are looking to impact the church’s youngest disciples are encouraged to get involved through camps, Wesley foundations, or Project Transformation.
If travel and face-to-face connection with those impacted by disasters or hardship are desired, volunteers can serve in disaster response or missions. From filling flood buckets to cutting down tree limbs to digging a well in an underserved country, opportunities are always available to lend a helping hand.
Multi-ethnic initiatives and Hispanic/Latino ministries help diversify the church’s ministries to all people, regardless of race, color, language, economic status, or anything else. Another area to increase the reach of United Methodist ministries is with new faith communities, including planting new churches.
Some feel called to ministry - to be an ordained pastor, a licensed local pastor, or even a lay speaker. Those who are called can learn more about the opportunities ahead of them when they make their first contact through the website.
Innovators will find partners and support with congregational vitality and fresh expressions. Those with fresh ideas and a passion for finding fruit in creative ways will be able to lead the charge with support from the conference.
“We want people to know that their input is not only needed, but also crucial, and wanted,” Carlos Ramirez, associate director of connectional ministries at OKUMC said. “We need their input for the life of the annual conference.”
Ramirez added, “If someone wants to start something in their local congregation, they can reach out to us for help. We might be needed just to do training, or to prepare the ground for them to do the ministry. Sometimes it’s beyond a worship service.”
If churches or individuals want to serve, they are encouraged to check out the website or reach out to Ramirez or anyone in the conference missions staff.